Physics

Physics Program Overview

The Physics curriculum at Western Colorado University provides opportunities for students to take coursework that supports other scientific and technical disciplines, to complete an academic minor, or to prepare for physics or engineering programs at other institutions.

Western Colorado University Physics Program offers some of the most challenging academic work you will find on campus; work that leads to new skills, knowledge and insight. Studies in these mathematics based sciences will serve you well in your academic work here, in graduate school, or as a professional.

We take pride in the personal attention you will receive from your professor.  The hours can be long and the work is hard. The professors will push you to do your best, and they insist on top quality work. The payoff is knowledge and skills that can lead to a challenging, rewarding, professional career. Our graduates are successfully employed as teachers, software engineers and as business, scientific and industrial professionals.

The word physics comes from the Greek word for nature, and we think of it today as the study of matter and energy. Physicists are concerned with understanding the way nature operates: the basic constituents of the universe and how they interact. The pursuit of that understanding leads to many practical applications. Physics is a rewarding area to study because it provides the basis for much of today’s technology,and it helps us satisfy our intellectual curiosity. The fundamental character of physics makes it a discipline that is central to the liberal arts.

The Physics curriculum at Western provides opportunities for students to take coursework that supports other scientific and technical disciplines, to complete an academic minor, or to prepare for physics or engineering programs at other institutions.  Students are also encouraged to participate in research projects with physics professors.  Western's Physics Program is a member of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Physics Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Profiles

Eric Loewen
Alum's recycling reactor may 'save the world.'
Dr. John Mason
“I have to admit that some people were a little skeptical at first when I said I wanted to install a merry-go-round on campus,”

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Charlesworth, William Memorial Scholarship

Charlesworth, William Memorial Mathematics and Natural Science Scholarship Available to:

The applicant has applied to and has been accepted for admission to Western Colorado University and is pursuing a major in mathematics or related natural sciences. The applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance. The applicant has demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics. Preference should be given to entering freshmen; however, all classes, freshmen through senior, are eligible. Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income. No preference should be given based on the sex of the applicant. Preference should be given to applicants from Delta County, Colorado, or from the Western Slope of Colorado.

Scholarship Provided by:

Established with the Western Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Chaired by the chairman of Mathematics and Computer Science and shall include a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. MCIS Department: (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 201

Find out more about Western's Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology.

 Mckenny, Casey James Memorial Scholarship

Mckenny, Casey James Memorial, Natural and Environmental Sciences Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time students at Western who are Juniors or Seniors (qualified Juniors shall be given preference over Seniors). Must be a declared major in Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or greater. Recipients must follow Casey's example of academic promise, love for the outdoors and service to fellow students demonstrated by volunteering in the community and involvement in campus activities and service.

Scholarship Provided by:

Gifts by Bill and Monica McKenny, Casey's parents, as well as other family members and friends.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western NAES faculty in consultation with the Dean of Students and Bill and Monica McKenny.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128.

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology

 Nauman, James D. Scholarship

Nauman, James D. Department of Environmental Sciences Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time, Colorado residents who have a major in a field within the Department of Natural & Environmental Sciences. Must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and demonstrated financial need.

Scholarship Provided by:

Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry

 Walker, C. Ralph and Florence Memorial Scholarship

Walker, C. Ralph and Florence Memorial Scholarship (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) is Available to:

Full-time students at Western Colorado University; must have declared a major in Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Scholarship Provided by:

Gifts from members of the Walker family to perpetuate the memory and to commemorate the service and devotion of C. Ralph and Florence Walker who both served the College and the Gunnison community in an exemplary manner for many years. Professor Walker was Chairman of Western's then Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Selected by:

Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Steve Griggs headshot
Lecturer in Physics
B.A., Western Colorado University, B.S., Fort Hays State University, M.S., Western Governor's University
Phone:
Office Location: Hurst Hall 202
John D. Mason headshot
Associate Professor of Physics
B.A., Colby College, M.S., University of California - Santa Cruz, Ph.D., University of California - Santa Cruz
Phone: 970.943.2142
Office Location: Hurst Hall 116
M. Suzanne Taylor headshot
Assistant Professor of Physics
B.S., Linfield College, M.S., University of New Mexico, Ph.D., University of New Mexico
Phone: 970.943.2155
Office Location: Hurst Hall 118

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 PHYS 120 - Meteorology (3 credits)

A summary of the structure of the Earth's atmosphere, worldwide weather disturbances, weather forecasting, and snow avalanches. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor.